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His death was instant, and without a groan.
O grant me, thus to live, and thus to die !
Who sprung from Kings shall know less joy than I.

O Friend! may each domestic bliss be thine !
Be no unpleasing Melancholy mine:
Me, let the tender office long engage,
To rock the cradle of reposing Age,
With lenient arts extend a Mother's breath,
Make Languor smile, and smooth the bed of Death,
Explore the thought, explain the asking eye,
And keep a while one parent from the sky!
On cares like these if length of days attend,
May Heav'n, to bless those days, preserve my friend,
Preserve him social, cheerful, and serene,
And just as rich as when he serv'd a QUEEN.
A. Whether that blessing be deny'd or giv'n,
Thus far was right, the rest belongs to Heav'n.

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415

ODE ON SOLITUDE

HAPPY the man whose wish and care

A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air,

In his own ground.

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Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,

Whose flocks supply him with attire, Whose trees in summer yield him shade,

In winter fire.

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Blest, who can unconcern’dly find

Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,

Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,

Together mixt; sweet recreation;
And Innocence, which most does please

With meditation.

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Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,

Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone

Tell where I lie.

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THE DESCENT OF DULLNESS

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IO

[From the Dunciad, Book IV)
In vain, in vain — the all-composing Hour
Resistless falls: the Muse obeys the Pow'r.
She comes ! she comes ! the sable Throne behold
Of Night primæval and of Chaos old!
Before her, Fancy's gilded clouds decay,
And all its varying Rain-bows die away.
Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
As one by one, at dread Medea's strain,
The sick’ning stars fade off th' ethereal plain;
As Argus' eyes by Hermes' wand opprest,
Clos’d one by one to everlasting rest;
Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
Art after Art goes out, and all is Night.
See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
Mountains of Casuistry heap'd o'er her head !
Philosophy, that lean'd on Heav'n before,
Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense!
See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
Religion blushing veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
For public Flame, nor private, dares to shine;
Nor human Spark is left, nor Glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread Empire, CHAOS! is restor'd;
Light dies before thy uncreating word;
Thy hand, great Anarch ! lets the curtain fall,
And universal Darkness buries All.

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20

25

30

ON MR. GAY

IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 1732

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Of Manners gentle, of Affections mild;
In Wit, a Man; Simplicity, a Child:
With native Humour temp’ring virtuous Rage,
Form’d to delight at once and lash the age:
Above Temptation, in a low Estate,
And uncorrupted, ev'n among the Great:
A safe Companion, and an easy Friend,
Unblam'd thro' Life, lamented in thy End.
These are Thy Honours! not that here thy Bust
Is mix'd with Heroes, or with Kings thy dust;
But that the Worthy and the Good shall say,
Striking their pensive bosoms - Here lies GAY.

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NOTES

THE RAPE OF THE LOCK

INTRODUCTION

IN 1711 Pope, who had just published his Essay on Criticism, was looking about for new worlds to conquer. A fortunate chance threw in his way a subject exactly suited to his tastes and powers. He seized upon it, dashed off his first sketch in less than a fortnight, and published it anonymously in a Miscellany issued by Lintot in 1712. But the theme had taken firm root in his mind. Dissatisfied with his first treatment of it, he determined, against the advice of the best critic of the day, to recast the work, and lift it from a mere society jeu d'esprit into an elaborate mock-heroic poem. He did so and won a complete success. Even yet, however, he was not completely satisfied and from time to time he added a touch to his work until he finally produced the finished picture which we know as The Rape of the Lock. As it stands, it is an almost flawless masterpiece, a brilliant picture and light-hearted mockery of the gay society of Queen Anne's day, on the whole the most satisfactory creation of Pope's genius, and, perhaps, the best example of the mockheroic in any literature.

The occasion which gave rise to The Rape of the Lock has been so often related that it requires only a brief restatement. Among the Catholic families of Queen Anne's day, who formed a little society of their own, Miss Arabella Fermor was a reigning belle. In a youthful frolic which overstepped the bounds of propriety Lord Petre, a young nobleman of her acquaintance, cut off a lock of her hair. The lady was offended, the two families took up the quarrel, a lasting estrangement, possibly even a duel, was threatened. At this juncture a common friend of the two families, a Mr. Caryll, nephew of a well-known Jacobite exile for whom he is sometimes mistaken, suggested to Pope to write a poem to make a jest of it,” and so kill the quarrel with laughter. Pope consented, wrote

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